Minnesota lost to Oklahoma at the Sanford Pentagon 71-62, dropping to 1-1 on the season. Marcus Carr led all Minnesota scorers with 16 points.
Early season games are difficult to evaluate, though I suspect that Richard Pitino will not be a happy camper with his offense. Let’s start with the three point lack of shooting. The Gophers shot 8-32 from behind the arc, and 8-30 on shots that were not heaves at the end of the game. Payton Willis was 4-12, while Gabe Kalscheur was just 2-8. That will not be good to beat many teams this season.
More troubling (though again beginning of the season), Minnesota did not have an effective offensive rhythm for much of the game. Daniel Oturu is the best player on the team, and for many possessions was stranded on the block or looked off in the screen and roll two man game. The guards have to be better about finding him whenever he is in a position to be successful on offense.
Most troubling, no matter when it happens in the seasons, the Gophers gave up a 23-4 run starting at about the under 8 in the second half, which allowed Oklahoma to take the lead and then pull away. The defensive miscommunications, poor rotations, and lack of stops at critical moments were frustrating to watch. Oklahoma will be a good team this year, and Minnesota’s defensive miscues let slip a win that would look quite nice come March.
Minnesota was 4-12 from the line. Marcus Carr went 1-6 by himself. Minnesota lost by 9 and was losing by 6 before garbage time. Oklahoma went 17-22 from the line. There is your ball game.
The Gophers had 11 assists and 13 turnovers.
On the positive side, the Gophers had three players in double figures, and at least 4 of those three point shots went in and out. There’s another way of flipping this game from a loss to a win.
Minnesota continues the brutal early non-conference stretch run on 11/12 against Butler.